Salacious details of a Manitoba federal minister's divorce leaked over Twitter. Alleged threats. An RCMP investigation. And the promise of more fireworks by hackers.

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This article was published 20/2/2012 (3409 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews

CP

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews

Salacious details of a Manitoba federal minister's divorce leaked over Twitter. Alleged threats. An RCMP investigation. And the promise of more fireworks by hackers.

All this over the introduction of an Internet surveillance bill?

For days now, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, the Manitoba MP for Provencher, has been the target of a sustained online campaign in response to last week's introduction of Bill C-30.

Among other things, the bill gives authorities access to Internet subscriber information without a warrant, which critics say violates privacy rights.

Part of the campaign against the bill involved the publication of Toews' divorce records, while some are mocking the bill's supposed powers by sending him mundane details of their lives.

A video by the activist group Anonymous surfaced over the weekend, promising Toews "will be exposed for the hypocrite" unless the bill is scrapped.

"We know all about you Mr. Toews," the group said. "We will release what we have unless you scrap this bill."

The video was viewed more than 15,000 times before the YouTube account was deleted Sunday night.

A longer video, also attributed to Anonymous, has since appeared, warning the group "will not allow a politician who allows his citizens no secrets to have any secrets of his own."

In a letter to his constituents, Toews said there had been threats of "criminal acts" against him and his family.

"These attacks, which have included criminal acts and threats of criminal acts against me and my family, have been referred to the police for investigation," Toews wrote in the letter, which can be read in full at www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/threats-will-not-dissuade-me-toews-139621833.html

Toews' office would give few details but the Free Press has been told Toews said he's received threats of physical harm against him and his family.

The RCMP said Monday they hadn't decided whether to launch a full investigation.

"We've received information from Public Safety so... we're going to examine that information," RCMP Cpl. David Falls said. "Depending on the situation, we may or may not initiate an investigation." He wouldn't say whether Toews is getting increased protection beyond pointing out police routinely assess the threat level facing ministers and adjust protection accordingly.

Meanwhile, police chiefs held a news conference in Vancouver on Monday in support of the legislation.

"We can't monitor your emails. We can't monitor your phone calls. We can't monitor your surfing unless a judge allows us to do that," Vancouver Deputy Chief Const. Warren Lemcke said.

The Canadian Police Association president said police don't want to monitor communications of Canadians who aren't committing crimes.

"Even if the police wanted... to monitor phones, ISPs (of the public), we don't have the capacity," Tom Stamatakis said. "This is legislation that's designed to give the police the tools to better deal with serious organized crime."

The backlash saw the Conservatives agree to send the bill to committee for detailed study and possible amendments.

 

-- from the news services

Free Press commentators have plenty to say on affair

Commentators have posted hundreds of comments on the Free Press website about the proposed online surveillance bill, the Vikileaks tweets revealing details of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' private life, the threats against Toews and now, the RCMP investigation into those threats. Here is a sampling of the comments:

-- On the bill:

"I have nothing to hide but if I'm having coffee with a friend at Tim Hortons and Vic Toews is standing over me with a tape recorder, I'm going to be very concerned! C-30 does the same thing -- but in your home."

-- pwarkentin2pc

 

-- On the Vikileaks tweets:

"Irony is that the 'tolerant left' (it's no big secret they are the origins of the tweets) chooses to attack Toews not about the bill he is proposing but his personal life. Oppose this bill, that's your right, but stay classy."

-- Stupid Is As Stupid Does

 

"If social media wants to be taken seriously, posters are going to have to take their masks off."

-- Cadillac Man

 

-- On the threats and RCMP investigation:

"Who should I call because I'm being threatened with a loss of my civil liberties?"

-- Slappy

 

"I can't say I feel bad for him. When you make outrageous statements like he did you should be prepared for a blast from the majority of citizens. I wouldn't want to see him physically harmed, but I sure think a public shaming is fair game."

-- John Shoff

 

-- On the whole affair:

"I find it harder and harder to be a conservative everyday. The U.S. has Gingrich but do we really need Toews?"

-- 23242787